My husband and I had the good fortune of spending twenty-four hours in Bend, OR. On our own, without kids or the dog, we hit the Oktoberfest festivities in downtown Bend, hiked to Benham Falls near Sunriver, but let’s be real, the reason I was in Bend was to go to Ariana Restaurant. A friend told us about it, and touted that it was her favorite restaurant in Bend. As we neared the appointed hour, we were eager to get going, but we had an hour to kill, so we went out for a beer before dinner, not my usual drink before dinner, but Bend is known for its craft beer and the husband is a big fan of all things hops, barley and malt. Luckily, we were only across the street from the Craftsman bungalow that houses Ariana Restaurant. I love restaurants in homes, you feel like you are visiting a friend, a friend that cooks really great food. As we entered the restaurant, I immediately got the sense we left the laid-back aura of Bend, and entered a great food establishment in a big city. We could have been in Chicago, New York or Paris. The diners were dressed up, thank goodness, I told my husband to change out of his Columbia Sportswear pull over.
You know when you go to a restaurant and the waitstaff knows what they are doing, and all you have to do is sit and enjoy, that’s Ariana. We ordered wine and sat back and enjoyed the Chef’s tasting menu.
September is always bittersweet for me. All the summer fruits and veggies that I’ve been gorging on is coming to an END, not to mention the end of BBQ season (although I’ve been known to grill in the rain) and I don’t want to think about what I’ll do without the crisp white and rose wines, and my love of Moscow Mules (it might be the copper mugs)! But the cooler weather has its upside, ROASTing season! I got a little ahead of myself and took advantage of the chill in the air by roasting a pork tenderloin and some roma tomatoes from my garden.
Make the paste with garlic, rosemary, thyme and fennel seeds – mash them all together
Rub the pork tenderloin with the herb paste and wrap with bacon and put into a pan with veggies and garlic around the pork, add rosemary sprigs, salt and pepper. Roast 400 deg for 30-35 min, until temp reaches 165 deg.
Make a pan sauce from the drippings in the pans. Deglaze the pan with sherry and a drizzle of heavy cream. Once the sauce is done, slice the pork tenderloin and divide among plates. To serve, drizzle evoo and a few twists of the pepper mill.
Roast romas cut side up in a glass baking dish – same time as the roast, with evoo and salt and pepper
Drizzle good evoo and balsamic vinegar top with chopped basil and shaved parmesan, salt and pepper – serve with Italian bread
It’s a scary thing, starting something new. Especially when it’s something as personal as cooking for another family. I cooked for several families a year ago and loved the experience of sharing my passion, providing meals with integrity and amazing ingredients, but I was cooking menus that I wanted to cook and not necessarily providing my clients the service they needed. Now, I’m incorporating my client’s preferences and making that the priority while highlighting natural ingredients and cooking seasonally which translates to a great product and service they will love.
I had the opportunity to cook for several events over the past summer and I love the energy of planning, executing, trouble shooting and ultimately seeing the event evolve, until there’s nothing to do but smile and enjoy. Knowing that I was a small part in creating that experience and seeing the gratitude on my client’s face – I loved that!
I have also wanted to teach cooking classes and offer cooking parties since last March, when a friend approached me with an idea that I do a cooking class for her birthday party at her house. It was so much fun introducing people to new ingredients, cooking techniques, and knife skills while cooking a delicious meal. An outside of the classroom setting made it less intimidating and more intimate.
So why now? I can’t think of a better time. The kids are getting older and are semi-self sufficient, I want to contribute to my family, and I have something to offer that I think is of great value.
They say if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. This doesn’t feel like work.